Archive for March, 2013

New Release Tuesday – April 2

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

New Release Tuesday, April 2:

Ballet Body: Core Workout

Ballet Body: Lower Body Workout

Ballet Body: Upper Body Workout

Dark Matters: Twisted by True

Hemingway & Gellhorn

Yo Gabba Gabba- Meet My Family

Newly Requestable DVDs -March 28

Thursday, March 28th, 2013
Beasts of the Southern Wild
The Bourne Legacy
The Dark Knight Rises
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days
The Dog Who Saved the Holidays
The Good Doctor
Hirokin: The Last Samurai
Hope Springs
Ice age: Continental Drift
Killer Joe
Last Ounce of Courage
Liberal Arts
The Odd Life of Timothy Green
Pitch Perfect
Premium Rush
Red Hook Summer
Resident Evil: Retribution
Santa’s Dog
10 years
Titanic: Blood &Steel
Total Recall
Trade of Innocents
Trouble with the Curve
Why Stop Now
The Words
Adventures of Bailey: Christmas Hero
Bob the builder: Teamwork Time
Christmas is Here Again
Fred 3: Camp Fred
My Little Pony Friendship is Magic: Adventures in the Crystal Empire
The Nut Crackers
Thomas & Friends: Sticky Situations

Foreign Films April 13

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

Dangerous Liaisons, directed by Hur Jin-ho

(In Mandarin, with English subtitles)

Two beautiful, wealthy, powerful people in 1930′s Shanghai suffer from the ennui that only the beautiful, wealthy and powerful can suffer. Xie Yifan, the strikenly handsome playboy of the Orient and the ravishingly beautiful Mo Jieyu are something of best friends, although one wonders how two such cold people can be friends at all. Nevertheless, they are a match in wealth, wit, and boredom. When Miss Mo, as she’s called, urges Xie to seduce the young, vulnerable Beibei, betrothed to another powerbroker, it is for revenge and amusement. Xie has his eyes on Du Fenyu, an equally vulnerable widow. Bets are placed, and the stakes are high. But Xie and Miss Mo might find out that playing with the heart brings with it dangers that can be devastating. I had seen Stephen Frears’s film version years ago and had not thought I’d enjoy a remake in 20th century China, but the film is at once striking and moving and worth the watch.

Even the Rain, directed by Icíar Bollaín

(In Spanish and Quechua, with English subtitles)

A film being made in Bolivia about the exploitation of the indigenous people by Columbus and a real-life drama known as the Bolivian Water War merge as two film makers pull together their project on a shoe-string budget. They try to save pennies while they themselves exploit their extras, played by indigenous locals. Sebastián is the film director, sensitive to the script and the purpose of the film, while the producer, Costa, is thinking of ways to keep the wages of the extras as low as possible, Enter Daniel, not only as it turns out an excellent actor but also a leader in the demonstrations going on in the water war – a very real event that occurred when the people of Bolivia rose up against the privatization of their water supply by multinationals. The people will be forbidden to gather even the rain, as Daniel points out, in astonishment. Sebastián struggles to keep his actors from getting arrested as they demonstrate against the outrageous developments in the water war, while Costa learns a lesson or two in what it means to live in a Third World country. Worth seeing if just for the performance of Juan Carlos Aduviri, who plays Daniel.

Heleno, directed by José Henrique Fonesca

(In Portuguese, with English subtitles)

Heleno de Freitas was a champion Brazilian soccer player in the 1940′s, admired by his legions of fans and adored by women. This biopic shows us his last ten or so years, when his ego (as big as a house) makes him an impossible teammate; and his selfishness and ruthless infidelity, a curse to women. But it is his encroaching dementia due to syphilis that leads to his ultimate downfall. Beautifully shot in black and white, this film reminds us that melodrama can occur in real life, not just in fiction.

Les Intouchables, directed by Olivier Nakache and Eric Tolendan

(In French, with English subtitles)

Despite its smashing success in France, Les Intouchables has roused only cautious and reserved praise from U.S. critics. Their reservations stem from the obvious racial stereotyping. Nevertheless, the film is based on fact: an aristocrat becomes paralyzed from the neck down due to an accident, and a hired aide lifts him out of his ennui through sheer force of life and spirit. Philippe has led a life of luxury and action. But his very fulfilled life comes to a grinding halt when he suffers a broken neck in a hang gliding accident. Along comes Driss, an African who really just wants someone to sign off on his employment form to prove he’s looking for work. Philippe challenges him to take the job and run with it. Driss accepts, once he sees the fancy car that Philippe no longer can drive. Paired with Driss, Philippe does get to ride around in his sports car again, and even engage in high speed chases, smoke marijuana, enjoy cool rock music, and generally live again. Driss brings joy to an injured man’s life, and if there is something of stereotyping here, it helps that Driss is such a cool guy to begin with.

The Kid with a Bike, directed by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne

(In French, with English subtitles)

Cyril has a lot to feel angry about. HIs father has abandoned him, although Cyril won’t admit to that. His father has also sold his prized possession – his bike. He is now a ward of the state. He has only himself in this world, one forlorn eleven-year-old. Then he bumps into Samantha, literally, a woman with her own grounded life, who recognizes immediately that Cyril needs an advocate in this big lonely world. She becomes his foster parent, helps him find his ne’er-do-well father, comforts Cyril when it’s clear Dad couldn’t care less about his son, and gets him his bike when it’s stolen. The bike is Cyril’s escape, leading him to freedom, danger, happiness, and even to his father in that futile attempt to reunite, but is it enough to connect him to family? Samantha with her enormous heart and strength will do whatever it takes to pull him into a real life of family and connection. The Dardennes also directed La Promesse, which HCPL owns.

Little White Lies, directed by Guillaume Canet

(In French, with English subtitles)

Try going on vacation every year with your same best friends, except as time passes, you realize that you are not certain you like them very much. So we find a group of pals who have joined Max and his wife Vero for an annual lengthy stay at their shore home. Their friend Ludo will not be joining them this year, since he has suffered a horrible accident and is lying comatose in the hospital. The friends tell themselves he’d really rather they go to the beach than linger in his hospital room, and off they go, only occasionally wondering how he is faring. So while they bicker and annoy each other over glasses of wine and leisurely summer outings, the turmoil underneath it all roils, not just in stale friendships but in the underlying tragedy of Ludo. Canet’s study in friendship is worth a look, even if the film is a little on the long side. Canet also directed Tell No One, a mystery that still resonates with me after a viewing a couple of years ago.

Me, Too, directed by Álvaro Pastor and Antonio Naharro

(In Spanish, with English subtitles)

Remarkable performances by both Pablo Pineda and Lola Dueñas lift this from the sappy to real drama. Pineda, who despite his Down syndrome has earned a university degree, plays Daniel, himself a college graduate, who longs to fit into a world beyond one where he has been defined by a damaged chromosome. Along comes Laura, who herself seems damaged in her own earthy, flamboyant and iconoclastic way. When the two meet, an odd friendship of misfits emerges, with the two of them helping each other along to the next stage in life.

The Thieves, directed by Chou Dong-hoon

(In Korean, with English subtitles)

Ok, here’s a Friday night movie for you. You know the kind: one that will keep you entertained when you are too tired to think after a week of work, a film that gives you lots of action and a plot probably too complicated to follow, but certainly not necessary to understand in order to enjoy the story. This one involves a jewel heist with rival gangs forged together in order to succeed in their quest. Macao Park and the beautiful and daring Pepsi, once an item but now apart with some degree of bitterness, pull together their forces to steal a priceless diamond. With intrigue, betrayal, plot and counterplot, it keeps you on edge just to think about it. The action alone should draw a fan base, particularly the rappelling around skyscrapers. That Pepsi sure can swings five hundred feet up in the air!

New Release Tuesday – March 26

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

New Release Tuesday, March 26:

Alois Nebel

Barbie in the Pink Shoes

The Borgias Season 2

Brooke Burke Body: 30 day slim down

The Collection

Day of the Falcon

El Milagro de Marcelino Pan Y Vino

Killing Them Softly


Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries Series 4

Parental Guidance

Shakespeare Uncovered

Veep Season 1

New Release Tuesday – March 19

Friday, March 15th, 2013

New Release Tuesday, March 19:

Anna Karenina


The Big Picture

The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey

The Other Son

Rust and Bone

Secret of the Caribbean with Trevor McDonald

Sesame Street Best of Friends

Soul Food Junkies

Straight A’s

Zero Dark Thirty

New Release Tuesday – March 12

Monday, March 11th, 2013

New Release Tuesday, March 12:

33 Great Cities of Europe

Angelina Ballerina: The Mousling Mysteries

Curious George Swings Into Spring

Law & Order, Criminal Intent – The Final Year (Season 10)

Life of Pi

Mulan/Mulan II 15th Anniversary

NFL Super Bowl XLVII Champions Baltimore Ravens

Pioneers of Television Season 3

Playing For Keeps

Rise of the Guardians

Saving the Ocean Season 1

Scooby-Doo and the Circus Monsters

Silent Hill: Revelation

Spongebob Squarepants Complete 8th Season

This Is Not a Film

This Must Be the Place

Who Framed Roger Rabbit 25th Anniversary

New Release Tuesday – March 5

Friday, March 1st, 2013

New Release Tuesday, March 5:

The Bay

Care Bears Totally Sweet Adventures

Dalziel & Pascoe

Dark Truth


Hurricane Sandy: Inside the Megastorm


Lay the Favorite

Murdoch Mysteries Season 5

Red Dawn

Sofia the First: Once Upon a Princess

Strawberry Shortcake Berry Friends Forever


Wreck-it Ralph

Waiting for Lightning

Newly Requestable DVDs -March 1

Friday, March 1st, 2013
2 days in New York
A Christmas Story 2
Arthur Christmas
Bringing up Bobby
Chernobyl Diaries
Crooked Arrows
Dark Shadows
Fire with Fire
Gabe the Cupid Dog
Love’s Christmas Journey
Magic Mike
Men in Black 3
Rock of Ages
Ruby Sparks
Safety Not Guaranteed
Sea Level
Step Up: Revolution
The Amazing Spider-Man
The Apparition
The Campaign
The Courier
The Day
The Expendables 2
The Note 3
The reef 2: High Tide
The Watch
Your Sister’s Sister
12 Christmas Wishes For My Dog
Chuggington: Icy Escapades
Dragons: Riders of Berk
Kung Fu Panda Holiday
Santa paws 2: The Santa Pups
Scooby-Doo Double Feature: Scooby-Doo! Meets the Boo Brothers ; Scooby-Doo and the Cyber Chase
Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated: Season 2. Part 1, Danger in the Deep
Spongebob Squarepants: It’s a Spongebob Christmas
Thomas & friends: A very Thomas Christmas
VeggieTales: LarryBoy Super Hero Power Pack, Volume 1
VeggieTales: The Ultimate Christmas Collection. Volume 1

Foreign Films March 13

Friday, March 1st, 2013

After the Banquet, directed by Kim Yun-Cheol

(In Korean, with English subtitles)

Seven friends, all former university students, gather together to celebrate the nuptuals of two of the group. An eighth friend is missing, however, with no word from her as to why she isn’t there. After the wedding banquet, the friends join together for an intimate dinner together to reminisce. And here they get walloped by a surprise: Mi-rae, the teenaged daughter of the missing friend, arrives to announce that her mother is dead, and she now wishes to find her father, one of the four men present. Of course, immediate suspicion falls on her boyfriend from their university days, but it’s rather more complicated than that. Two of the other guys may just as likely be Mi-rae’s father. As the evening rolls on into the next following days, more is revealed of the mystery, as well as the value of enduring friendship and the ties of family.

Beloved, directed by Christophe Honoré 

(In French, with English subtitles)

This romantic comedy that is something of a musical as well begins when Madeleine as a young adult steals a pair of glamorous shoes that sets her in a direction she had never before considered. Mistaken for a prostitute, she falls into the role, finding along the way a Czech physician husband and a daughter, Vera. Years later, Madeleine is divorced from Jaromil and remarried; Vera is a grown woman now, with her own issues; and Jaromil may or may not be back in the picture. An all-star cast of European familiars (Catherine Deneuve, Chiara Mastroianni, Milos Foreman, Louis Garrel, and American actor Paul Schneider) works to lift the movie from silly to occasionally poignant. It perhaps covers too many years and involves too many songs, but fans of French romantic comedies will find this confection just right. Christophe Honoré also directed Making Plans for Lena, owned by HCPL.

Elena, directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev 

(In Russian, with English subtitles)

Elena is a middle-aged woman in a nearly loveless marriage to the much wealthier Vladimir. Both have disfunctional children from previous marriages, and both see the disparity in their social stations and income. While Vladimir’s daughter is a drug-user (only on weekends, as she puts it), Elena’s son is an alcoholic lout, sponging off his mother and Vladimir for extra bucks. Her grandson, Sasha, is nearly as bad, joining in mindless brawls just for kicks. But Sasha is about to be drafted in the militay. If he can get some money together, he can go to college and avoid that nasty fate, even if he’s not exactly college material. Vladimir firmly states that Sasha is on his own, and makes the point even clearer when he signals that he wants to rewrite his will and leave Elena not with a full inheritance but with an annuity. Elena needs to consider alternatives…and they could be life-changing.

Farewell, My Queen, directed by Benoit Jacquot

(In French, with English subtitles)

On the morning of July 14, 1789, Sidonie, the serving woman whose job it is to read to Queen Marie Antoinette, awakens to no more an irritation than mosquito bites on her arm. So begins an increasingly frightening day at Versailles, when the inevitable is denied and the obvious pushed aside as much as possible by servants and nobility alike. Sidonie is a nobody, as even she will readily admit, but she is forced into the intrigue of the downfall of royals and nobles alike, as much as any lord or lady. She adores the queen and will do anything for her, but when she is asked to disguise herself as a noblewoman, so better to effect the escape of a favorite of the queen, she must ponder her own possible fate in this ruse. For a more contemporary setting in a movie by Jacquot, try À Tout de Suite.

Phantom Pain, directed by Matthias Emcke

(In German, with English subtitles)

Many would consider Marc a slacker. He works at odd jobs, drinks a lot, proves to be totally unreliable even when it comes to picking up his young daughter from school, and is a disaster in relationships with women. But his virtues shine. He is a great storyteller; he knows how to live simply and modestly with no extravegance; he has a remarkable level of kindnes; and his dreams are admirable – he just wants to ride his bicycle along some of the most difficult routes of the Tour de France. When he loses his leg in a horrific traffic accident, even that bit of his life seems over. But in addition to his other virtues, he possesses a tenacity of life that could be the key to helping him adjust direction and move on.

Tai Chi Zero, directed by Stephen Fung

(In Mandarin, with English subtitles)

Described as steam punk kung-fu, Tai Chi Zero provides entertainment where I didn’t expect it. I have to admit it doesn’t matter too much about the plot here, since the action, romance, humor, and adventure will keep a viewer absorbed. Yang Lu Chan finds himself in the role of defender of a village that faces imminent danger from an unscrupulous railroad tycoon, who sees the villagers as just one more obstacle in the way of his goal for extending the rail line. But there’s just one thing besides Yang standing in the way: the entire village, from the youngest to the oldest, knows a kind of superb tai chi fighting that could tip the scales here in this battle for a village and for a way of life.

Les Visiteurs du Soir, directed by Marcel Carné

(In French, with English subtitles)

Gilles and Dominique are on a mission. They have been tasked by Satan himself to visit the castle of the Baron Hughes and take away at least one person each, to increase the devil’s downfallen. So on a beautiful spring day in 1485, the two envoys arrive at Baron Hughes’s castle. When the Baron invites Gilles and Dominique over the threshold, it is an innocent enough mistake, an act of hospitality during a day of celebration. Anne, the daughter of the widowed Baron, is about to marry Renaud, even as she harbors many reservations in this arrangement. What happens next, as the envoys attempt to carry out their task, is of even greater consequence for Gilles and Dominique than they might expect. While Dominique, really a woman disguised as a man, toys with the pompous and arrogant Renaud, Gilles falls in love with Anne. To complicate matters, since the mischief-making is turning topsy-turvey, the devil himself shows up to set things aright. Will true love triumph over evil? Not likely, but this fairy tale of a story is told in a form that reflects style – with eloquent costuming, haunting camera shots, and soft, seductive black and white film. If you like this film, you may want to try Carné’s ravishing Children of Paradise, also owned by HCPL.

The Well Digger’s Daughter, directed by Daniel Auteuil

(In French, with English subtitles)

Patricia is the beautiful daughter of Pascal, a humble widowed well digger. After she falls in love with the grocer’s son, Jacques, a huge step up socially, she risks all for her lover and becomes pregnant. Jacque’s parents are appalled, and Patricia is sent off in disgrace to live with an aunt. Pascal is deeply disappointed in his daughter, but underneath his gruffness and pragmatism, he cares deeply for her and her five other sisters. What holds a family together? What heals a family in crisis? What is it that binds it with such strength that the biggest disgrace to one family can become perhaps its strongest link? For Pascal it will take one look, one lingering glance, to set his priorities in the right direction.